How To Edit Your Closet: For the Indecisive and Sentimental Woman

How to Edit Your Closet

Throughout the years I have read so many how to posts on editing your closet and have gained so much knowledge from them.  You probably have seen them and most include methods of removing items from your closet and placing them in piles labeled something like KEEP, TOSS, MEND/ALTER, and DONATE/SELL.  In a logical world, that all seems wonderful and good, but for some of us, we tend to be either indecisive or sentimental, or both about a lot, if not most of the items in our closet.  After all, we have these pieces in our closet for a reason, whether it was purchased by yourself or was a gift.  Today I am going to be sharing my technique of how I edit my closet, both in a massive way when you have not done it in a while, and in a maintaining way.

About two years ago I began a journey of self healing and awareness.  One of the issues I wanted to face was my ever growing closet that was full of beautiful pieces that I was feeling overwhelmed with.  There was literally no way I was going to be able to wear everything I had unless I did wardrobe changes two to three times a day.  My closets were jam packed to the point of me not being able to even pull one garment out because I could not fit my hand in between the hangers.  I was frustrated because I felt like I was wasting money and time that weighed on my conscience daily.  I finally decided I was going to do something about it.

STEP 1- Laying the Ground Work

My first step really had nothing to do with even looking in my closets.  I wanted to lay the ground work for the editing process ahead of me.  I began by coming up with an image of how I wanted to look.  It seems a little contradictory to be “shopping” on Pinterest, but that is exactly what I did.  By creating a mood board I constructed a glimpse into my dream outfits.  It had nothing to do with exact garments, it had to do with details, feelings, the image I wanted to portray.  Now I had a vision in my head of what my dream wardrobe would look like.

STEP 2- Going through your Closet

Now that I was excited about the personal style I had developed, I began to delve into my closet.  Removing 10-15 pieces at a time, I would lay them out on the bed and try to go through them as quickly as possible.  I decided I would take my own method and create sections my own way.  My keeps that I felt followed my new vision and I knew fit me went back into the closet.  My no’s were pieces that I did not even remember I had that I was no longer interested in, so no sweat there.  Within those I decided which ones I was going to donate and which ones I was going to sell.  And then there were the ones I paused on…you know, the ones you love, but a) you love them, you know they don’t fit you, b) they were a gift from someone you love but they are not your current style, c) they represent a wonderful time in your life but they do not fit into your current style, d) you love them, but have no idea how to wear them.  I absolutely refused to just put those maybe pieces that I paused on back in my closet and I again refused to just eliminate them in one fail swoop out of my life.

This is where my editing process really takes a different turn from what you have probably read.

STEP 3- Pieces that no longer fit

So I chose to do things my way by first taking the items that I knew no longer fit me and folding them up nicely to put away to revisit on a predetermined date.  No, I did not want a box of too small of clothes haunting me forever!  I chose to revisit them in two months.  Since weight loss was part of my journey, I wanted to be realistic about these pieces.  The second part of this step will continue later on in the process.

STEP 4- Gifted Items

When it came to the items that were gifted to me, but were not really my style, I had a heart to heart with myself.  I am a sentimental sap and I also was giving too much time and energy to making others happy at the sacrifice of my own happiness.  As I revisited this section all together, I knew that I would never be excited to pull any of these items to wear so I decided to sell them.  I thought about how the person who gifted it to me would be happy that I would get some cash for the items instead of them sitting and collecting dust in my closet.  They were all in excellent condition as I had not really worn them much.  I hung these items back up in a special section of my cleared out closet to keep them unwrinkled.

STEP 5- Sentimental Items

The garments that represented special moments in my life were just a handful of pieces.  These are items that you are not reaching for and are not part of your current style.  Instead of placing these back into your closet, I folded them away and placed them in a basket at the bottom of my closet to “visit” from time to time until I am ready to part with them or to just place back into the basket.  My advise for this is to keep these to a minimum.  You really want to evaluate if these are more valuable as memory reminders or is it more beneficial to clear up space in your closet.

STEP 6-Pieces that You Think are Pretty, but are not Your Style

To be perfectly honest, this was most of my maybe pile.  If I had a friend doing this with me, I know any of them would have been saying things like “why would you get rid of that, it is so pretty!”  In a way, I was saying this to myself.  This was a big one for me to get over and one visit back to my personal style mood board on Pinterest made me stay on track.  It was like these pieces were representing a different time in my life where I did dress that way.  At that time, I was beyond thrilled to put them on, but that excitement and life had changed.  They were no longer fulfilling what I wanted to project.  Rather than holding onto them just for pretties sake, I decided to sell them and make money off of them to reinvest into a wardrobe that was me now!

STEP 7-Pieces You Love, but have no Idea How To Wear

These garments that I felt still fit my new personal style, but were going unused in my everyday wardrobe due to the fact I did not know how to wear them were then a high priority.  I needed to make a decision if these were going to stay in my closet or if they needed to be sold or donated.  Instead of making a snap decision, I chose to first do some research online by looking at outfit inspiration with similar pieces that I had.  Then I went to work creating outfit(s) of my own with these garments along with other pieces in my closet.  I made these outfits a priority by making sure I wore them within the next few weeks.  On the days that I wore these “in question” pieces, I took a mental note on how I felt in them.  Sometimes I was reinvigorated and remembered why I fell in love with the piece in the first place.  Sometimes I enjoyed wearing it, but did not feel it was worth ever wearing again.  This experience alone was enough for me to make a decision for it to stay or go.

STEP 8-Sell or Donate Items

After doing some research, I chose to sell my clothes and accessories on Poshmark.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I have mentioned this second hand marketplace app many, many times.  Since I eliminated about 2/3rds of my closet, it took me months to list all of my items.  I am so thankful that I found this way of selling my new or new looking pieces because it allowed me to reinvest in a wardrobe that was my new signature style.  I have written a blog post on Tips for Selling on Poshmark if you are interested in selling yourself.  Sign up using my referral code BYKEJ and visit my closet at username j9design.  I decided to donate my other pieces to my local Goodwill.

STEP 9-ReVisiting the Items You Stashed Away

Within a few months of living with my newly cleared out closet, selling clothes, and adding new items that fit my new personal style, I found that I was really enjoying having less pieces to select from.  I was excited about every single item in there and was not having to skip over all of those pieces that I did not like or did not fit into.  I mean, what a blow to your psyche to have to be bombarded with all the things you can’t or don’t want to wear every day.  I had no idea how much it effected me and my day.  Now that I was in a more positive place, I was able to revisit those items I had stashed away that no longer fit or that I was feeling sentimental about.  As I went through them now, I felt different.  Since they had not been in my face for a long time, they seemed to have lost there appeal.  Little by little, I chose to sell all of those remaining pieces and I felt really good about it.  I was not forced to do it, I was ready to let them go.

STEP 10-Maintenance

Every season I know follow these same steps, but on a much smaller scale since I love the more manageable size of my closet space.  It helps me to stay focused and also see how to incorporate new items I have added.  By dong this it has kept me in check and also makes me really think about new purchases.  I want every item in my closet to make me feel special and excited to put it on.  There is simply no room for something mediocre.

Today’s Postivity Note

Every day is a fashion show & the world is your runway…

 Be Blessed!


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One comment

  1. Such good advice, Janeane! I have been trying to whittle down my closet for a long time now, but I love to shop. I’ll do good for a while and then buy, buy, buy. I am trying to get better about only buying what I really love, but even there….I can love a lot of stuff! Ha, ha. I also find time a big factor in dealing with any of the clutter in my life. I work, take care of my grandson, have a hubby who likes my company and two adult daughters and a son-in-law. Sometimes I feel like I am starting life all over again, trying to figure it all out and having a blog is part of that. I so appreciate your posts, because so many of them are helpful. I like that you figured out your style and then pared down your closet. That would certainly make it easier. I guess I need to do that. I also like that you said it is okay to get rid of some of the “pretty” things. I have tops in my closet that I haven’t worn in a year because they are “pretty” and I think, “Someday, I am going to wear that.” Thanks so much for the good advice and the encouragement! – Amy

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